Chief: Man killed in gun battle had fired at police

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher says a man who was killed during a weekend gun battle failed to listen to police commands and fired shots at officers.

The gun battle at JD's Honky Tonk Bar on Spring Grove Avenue Saturday night killed one person, injured another, and also injured two undercover Cincinnati Police officers. The battle all started between police and a motorcycle club called The Iron Horsemen.  Police estimate 30 shots were fired during the battle.

Streicher told FOX19 that further investigation revealed the man who died was a member of the Iron Horsemen who had fired shots at police. It was originally believed that the victim was an innocent bystander.

An attorney for the Iron Horsemen, Mike Schulkens, says the victim, whose name is Harold, was guarding the door because there had been some tension building between the Iron Horsemen and another motorcycle club called the Detroit Highwaymen. The Highwaymen were reportedly trying to start a club in Cincinnati.

When Harold saw two men approaching in masks, he assumed they were members of the Detroit Highwaymen who were there to kill members of the Iron Horsemen, so he opened fire.

Streicher said he doesn't know if the officers were wearing masks or if they had any clothing or accessories identifying them as police.  Masks are sometimes worn by undercover officers to hide their identity.

Police will only say that the officers were there "conducting an investigation." No other information is available on why the officers were there.

The Iron Horsemen also have a hangout in Covington, and Schulkens says he has met with both Covington Police and with Chief Streicher, telling them that the Iron Horsemen do not have anything against the police.

Streicher said the names of the officers will not be released because of their undercover status. They have been released from the hospital and are recovering at home.

One of the men allegedly involved in the incident, Lew Erskine, 47, was in court Monday morning on one count of possession of a firearm in a liquor premise. He was released on his own recognizance and his case will go the grand jury on Oct. 4.

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